What informed 'Digital Waste: The Sweet Smell Of Burning' photographs

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

The origins of the word "Photography" are found in Greek words phos = light and graphis = paintbrush. When combined it means “drawing with light”. The earliest record of the uses of a camera obscura can be found in the writings and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). From that period till today we all know how technological advancement has shaped the history of photography. I would highly recommend the following two articles if you want to get into details of photography history. A History of Photography And How It Shaped The World History of photography


Photography in terms of aesthetics and technology provides a rich plethora of discussion and inspiration. In this post, we will look at Light Painting Photography. In this method, in conjunction with a long exposure, a handheld light source is used to selectively illuminate parts of a scene to create a photograph. Pioneer photographer like Man Ray, Edmund Kesting, Gjon Mili has inspired many photographers following this genre of photography.


Man Ray: (born August 27, 1890 - died November 18, 1976)


Man Ray's original name was Emmanuel Radnitzky. He was a photographer, painter, and filmmaker who was the only American to play a major role in both the Dada and Surrealist movements. Man Ray The first artist to explore the technique of light painting and his artistic stand to use double exposure in photography has given a significant starting point to shape where photography is today. His 1922 portrait of Marchesa Luisa Casati created an uncanny appearance of a woman with four eyes. This photograph creates a tribute to the Surrealist notion of the supernatural.


Portrait of Marchesa Luisa, Man Ray, 1922

Gjon Mili: (born 1904 - died 1984)


Gjon Mili was born in Albania and came to the United States in 1923. Gjon was trained as an engineer and was a self-taught photographer. Mili and Harold Edgerton at MIT together developed tungsten filament lights for colour photography. Expanding his research further Mili used innovations in stroboscopic and stop-action in his photographic practice. Mili used this technique to study the motion of dancers, musicians, and figure skaters.


In the 1940’s Gjon attached small lights to the boots of ice skaters he then opened the shutter of his camera and created images that have never stopped inspiring the double and multiple exposure enthusiasts.



Dancers, Gjon Mili

Edmund Kesting: (born 1892 - died 1970)


Edmund Kesting was a German photographer, painter and art professor who practised various experimental techniques such as solarization, multiple images and photogram.



Nocturno (Stefi Oberhehl), Edmund Kesting, ca. 1927–1934

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